The Magazine

An Exceedingly Strange New Respect

Hillary Clinton makes friends in some surprising precincts.

May 12, 2008, Vol. 13, No. 33 • By NOEMIE EMERY
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And better--or worse--she is becoming a social conservative, a feminist form of George Bush. Against an opponent who shops for arugula, hangs out with ex-Weathermen, and says rural residents cling to guns and to God in unenlightened despair at their circumstances, she has rushed to the defense of religion and firearms, while knocking back shots of Crown Royal and beer. Her harsh, football-playing Republican father (the villain of the piece, against whom she rebelled in earlier takes on her story) has become a role model, a working class hero, whose name she evokes with great reverence. Any day now, she'll start talking Texan, and cutting the brush out in Chappaqua or at her posh mansion on Embassy Row.

In the right-wing conspiracy, this adaptation has not gone unobserved. "Hillary has shown a Nixonian resilience and she's morphing into Scoop Jackson," runs one post on National Review's blog, The Corner:

She's entering the culture war as a general. All of this has made her a far more formidable general election candidate. She's fighting the left and she's capturing the center. She's denounced MoveOn.org. She's become the Lieberman of the Democratic Party. The left hates her and treats her like Lieberman. . . . Obama is distancing himself from Wright and Hillary is getting in touch with O'Reilly. The culture war has come to the Democratic Party.

She might run to the right of McCain, if she makes it to the general election, and get the votes of rebellious conservatives. Or she, Lieberman, and McCain could form a pro-war coalition, with all of them running to pick up the phone when it rings in the small hours. The New York Times and the rest of the left would go crazy. Respect can't get stranger than that.

Noemie Emery is a contributing editor to
THE WEEKLY STANDARD.